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Dodge Ram: Problems & Solutions



  • I have a 04 QUAD 4.7L 5spd auto. I heard this engine was made by Mercedes. Does anyone no anything about that? Also I had a 5spd TRANS option of over 1000.00. How old is this trans and are old problems suppose to be fixed it? This is the trans you have to have with the hemi but I have with 4.7l..Thanks for any info...
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    First, who ever told you this is someone to completely avoid in the future for credible information.

    The 287 CI engine (4.7) was designed by Chrysler engineers and is currently manufactured at Chrysler foundries in the U.S. and Mexico. It was not a Mercedes design and is not manufactured anywhere else in the world.

    The transmission you are referring to is the 545RFE. It is a pure Chrysler design, is fully electronic, fully adaptive, and has six distinct forward speeds. This transmission was first used in '99 on the Jeep Grand Cherokee behind the 4.7 engine. It has since migrated to Dodge trucks where it has proven to be an extremely solid and robust design. It has no known inherent design defects. Since it's introduction there have been only two component quality problems, both transducers, and had affected a very small population of 2002 versions. There has been one shift program update (PCM) on Dakota and one on RAM. These corrections resolved a quirky cruise control/shift quality issue, nothing debilitating. There have been only a hand full of reports of catastrophic failures within a short period of time after vehicle delivery, indicating an assembly problem. Problem and especially failures since are extremely low. I have talked to three transmission rebuilders who stated they have never had one apart!!

    In short the 545RFE is probably one of the best and most reliable transmissions currently available in an American designed light-duty pick-up truck.

  • roper2roper2 Posts: 61
    What auto. transmission do I have in the 02 4.7 sb reg. cab? I'm not sure. Thanks
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926

    If you have the 4.7 engine in any Chrysler or Dodge vehicle, the automatic transmission is the 545RFE.

  • roper2roper2 Posts: 61
    Thanks Dusty.
  • Roper2, Have you had any problems and how many miles do you have? Dusty, The 5spd trans was an option on my 04 1500. Are you saying if you have the 4.7l you will have the 545RFE trans. If so I wonder why they don't make it standard..Thanks for the info..
  • bmaigebmaige Posts: 140
    I finally took the plunge and I'm going to buy a new Dodge 3500 with the high ouput diesel tomorrow so I need some answers in a hurry. The best deal I got is about 400 miles from home, so I need to know how best to drive the truck from there back over that distance. Most of it will be on interstate with 70 mile per hour speed limits posted, but seldom observed. Is there anything I need to know about driving a new Cummins diesel over that distance to keep from doing it any harm, such as low speeds, changing speeds, etc?

    I would appreciate any help anyone can provide. We'll leave in the morning fairly early to get started.

    Thanks in advance for all the help.
  • loncrayloncray Posts: 301
    When I picked up my Ram CTD almost two years ago, I immediately drove it 300 miles to my wife's family's house. If you can tow something, do it - just don't drive above 55 for the first 500 miles or so - your manual will tell you. If you're not towing anything, drive it like you stole it. The engine loves to be worked - so work it!
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    Just vary your speeds and keep them reasonable. I wouldn't drive it like you stole it, though. I personally witnessed a new Cummins go up in flames a few years ago. Guy passed me, had to be over 100mph with a dealer tag flapping on the back. Wasn't too far down the road he was pulled over and smoke was rolling out from the hood. I stopped and wasted a fire extinguisher along with a couple truckers. He was a lot jockey, moving the truck for a dealer trade in another state. Truck had about 150 miles on it. Seals don't take kindly to extreme temps that early in life. Oil doesn't take kindly to glowing exhaust manifolds. Gives literal meaning to the term "oil burner".
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,592
    Bet his job went up in flames right along with the truck. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he was trying to explain that one.
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    He didn't come acrossed as the sharpest crayon in the box. I doubt anyone told his employer, they probably believed it was a fluke. Of course with a little math they probably could have figured it out. Dodge probably picked up the tab.

    You just wonder how many of these "new" vehicles have been run to death the first few hours. I had a vehicle brought in from another dealer once, but I paid extra for flat-bed service. Last thing i want is a new vehicle with 300 miles on it driven by Earnhardt wannabees.
  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,592
    My Titan had 313 miles on it, that kinda bugged me, but the $600 brush guard they threw in made up for it. No harm done to the Titan. They said it was a demo, but who knows.
  • dustykdustyk Posts: 2,926
    The standard transmission behind a 4.7 would be a 5-speed manual.

    If you have a 4.7 engine in any Dodge truck, the only automatic transmission available for it is the 545RFE.

  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,592
    We got the 99 Ram 3500 V10 (20k miles) back from the dealer yesterday, all seems well including the tranny.

    They replaced the oil pump (was down to 10 psi) and oil press sending unit, plus the TPS, and (I guess they weren't thinking) they replaced both cats (I never said anything about the cats when I dropped it off) and the muffler. The truck was out of its emissions warranty by 5 months (5/50k for over 9900 GVWR trucks), they assumed it was still in so did the work, no charge to us. Needless to say the truck is 100% better, guess the other cat (one we didn't replace) was coming apart too.
  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    Like the others said, vary your speeds. In fact, if there's a local (state or US) highway that parallels the interstate, take that instead. It will give your new truck much better variance of speeds and temperatures. Use all the gears as much as possible - hitting the highway and leaving the trans in OD does nothing for it, manual or automatic. Make sure you keep the operating temperature up, diesels will cool themselves off in a hurry as they produce neglible waste heat from combustion when they idle. My 96 Cummins has never been above 190 degrees, even in dead-of-summer stop-and-go traffic to the beach.

    The Cummins engine by itself is ready to punch the clock and get to work... think some guy taking delivery of a brand new Peterbilt babies it home from the dealer for a few hundred miles, or does he hook up a trailer and get busy? It's the rest of the Ram that you're really breaking in... drivetrain especially.

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  • jcasperjcasper Posts: 37
    I have a 04 cummins with 5500 miles on it. I understand that diesels smoke either fuel or oil smoke. I was curious if they all puff blue smoke at a cold startup for about the first 20-30 seconds.
  • bmaigebmaige Posts: 140
    I was considering the engine more than anything, but I don't want to mess up the tranny, four wheel drive, or rear end, either.

    Thanks to all for the input. Got to start moving to get ready to get on the road. It is getting light so I need to check fence and cows before we get away.

    Thanks again to all!

  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,231
    I was curious if they all puff blue smoke at a cold startup for about the first 20-30 seconds.

    That's fairly normal with the crappy diesel that's generally available. I get zero smoke on start-up if running a premium diesel, but that's hard to find. As new fuel requirements go into effect in '06 we should start seeing more and more premium diesel. Should be no smoke beyond that initial puff though, even when pulling hard.
  • Was towing a van on a car trailer up a hill doing 60 with od off without any problems one day. When all of a sudden a big plumm of smoke followed by a fine spray of oil behind me. When I finally made it through traffic over to the edge (4 lane hwy each way)and stopped, the trainie was dry. I had blown off one of the hard lines that runs under the pan up to a quick release clip by the turbo. After getting the quick clip back on and the trans filled(a mile hike both ways, which no one stopped to ask if i needed help, not even the HWY patrol. what's up with that?) I got back under way.

    Ever sence, the trans hesitates every once in a while between gear shifts at 30mph. I need to get in for a flush asap but, does anyone have any other suggestions?
  • roper2roper2 Posts: 61
    I have 62k with no problems.I have done the 30k@60k on trans.rearend sparkplugs.I run all the trans.rearend 75/140 @ engine valvoline 5/30.Also had dealer flush cooling system and refill @50k.Really like the truck and might trade in 06 if they put a diesel in the 1500. If they do not I might drive this one for a long time.I put around 30k a year on it so they are not new very long.Oh yea looked in glove box and it said 4speed trans. 3.55 rear axle.2002 4.7
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